Friday 28 October 2016

This house of cards was always destined to collapse

Published 01/07/2015 | 02:30

Badly burnt: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Badly burnt: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

The establishment of the European Economic Community (later the European Union) in 1957 was an extraordinary achievement. Repairing the wounds of two world wars that had devastated Europe, it created the basis for co-operation between formerly hostile states, leading to decades of relative peace and prosperity, social and political stability and the unprecedented mingling of cultures and populations. Since 1973, Ireland has reaped enormous benefits, financially, economically and socially, from EEC/EU membership.

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Core to the success of 'The European Project' were the principles of social democracy, marrying social justice with market distribution to underpin social protections, employment rights, equality and solidarity.Since the 1970s the international regulations that limited the powers of corporate finance have come increasingly under attack by private interests.

This has led to the silent and insidious hijacking of democratic political processes by unaccountable corporate power.

The EU is no longer run by politicians for the people, but by banks for profit, at the expense of the people.

It is striking that no punitive 'lessons' were applied to the banking system that bankrupted the Western world in 2008.

On the contrary, the bankers' hand has been strengthened. We are all now compelled to continue paying the debts that they incurred.

A so-called 'economic' system that promotes the power and influence of the wealthy over ordinary people - so that our savings, pensions and investments become fodder for their profligate gambling in the so-called "markets" - has led to the increasing impoverishment of the many for the enrichment of the few.

Greece has been badly burnt by this rigged system and has called a halt to the whole charade.

The financial house of cards that has replaced the vision of a genuine European economic community was destined to eventually collapse, one way or another. It would appear that that day is now upon us.

Maeve Halpin, Ranelagh, Dublin 6

Impact of Greek crisis

Once again the true nature of the European Union is exposed. Behind the face of a Europe of 'solidarity' there is nothing more than bullying, arm-twisting and blackmail.

The much vaunted sharing of values is nothing more than a cloak to disguise the power of the European and US monopolies. It is their global interest that lies at the very heart of the EU. The denouncing of the Greek government's decision to hold a popular referendum is further testimony as to how shallow the commitment of the ruling group is to democracy.

It is and always has been one of do as we say and do as you are told. Those who still harbour illusions as to the real nature of the EU and that somehow it can be transformed from within need to rethink this unrealistic position. Once again, the citizens of Europe need to stand in solidarity with the Greek people in opposition to the EU and what it is attempting to impose upon its people. There is no doubt there will a be cacophony of threats and expressions of dire consequences to be heard from all the pro-EU parties and press, both here in Ireland and across the EU. But they cannot hide the reality that the aim of the EU is to solve the crisis at the expense of its people.

Paul Doran, Clondalkin, Dublin 22

The Greek crisis will be everybody's crisis soon if something is not done to sort out its debt mountain. One of the drawbacks of the single market is that a crisis in one part of the EU affects all other countries in the eurozone.

The Greek debt is put at €317bn, which is a colossal amount of money to service. The country has relied far too much on tourism as its source of income, which is not always steady. Greece's debt problems have spiralled out of control and it is clear that the European project is a dangerous economic and social experiment that is going very wrong.

No country can keep on borrowing money indefinitely without paying it back and bringing it under control with reforms and discipline.

What makes matters worse is that Greece's political system is rickety, which adds to the uncertainty about Greece's ability to bring itself out of the crisis. Like our own bailout, Greece's bailout is a matter of controversy.

It is clear the EU and IMF like putting pressure on countries to borrow money, and then when a default is near, puts even more pressure on them to pay it back. There is one important question for all countries regarding IMF bailouts: is the IMF a friend in deed or an economic, exploitative tyrant when a country is on its knees?

Maurice Fitzgerald, Shanbally, Co Cork

What next for Greece - Bitcoin?

Liam Cooke, Coolock, Dublin 17

For whom the bell tolls

You just know it's the silly season when Atheist Ireland recommences its battle against that most invidious of practices - the daily toll of the Angelus bell.

Unfortunately, instead of being ignored like bold children, RTÉ has decided to consider its ridiculous request.

However, if RTÉ and Atheist Ireland are to be intellectually consistent, then Ronan Collins's daily music show should also be scrapped.

Over the last few months alone, he has played the Burt Bacharach song 'Say A Little Prayer' at least twice. Enough to induce palpitations in the most robust atheist.

Eric Conway, Navan, Co Meath

Western policy on Syria

The US army and many other armies could destroy Isis in Syria.

But there is only one army which can destroy Islamist fanaticism in that country, the Syrian army.

At present, US/UK policy is preventing them from doing that. It is high time for a fundamental review of policy.

Brendan O'Brien, Winchmore Hill, London

WB Yeats and Lady Gregory

I am writing to point out an error in Sinead Moriarty's comment piece on June 29, in which she states that WB Yeats married Lady Gregory. WB Yeats married Georgie Hyde-Lees in 1917 and they had two children, Anne and Michael.

You may have upset the people of Sligo with this distortion of the facts.

Ruth Walsh, address with editor

Irish Independent

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